Gig Economy Employment during the Pandemic: An Analysis of GrabFood Driver Experiences in the Philippines

The global gig economy has expanded due to its flexibility in generating employment and providing services (Chen et al. 2020; Hall and Krueger 2018). Several empirical studies have shown that gig economy platforms are efficient in matching workers with clients, which reduces barriers to creating jobs for low-productivity workers (Schwellnus et al. 2019). The gig economy expansion accelerated in many countries during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The gig economy in the Philippines was limited before Grab’s transportation and food delivery services kicked off in the country. Grab plays a similar role in Southeast Asia to Uber (which began as a ride-hailing service and expanded to include food delivery) in the United States. However, there is little evidence on the sentiment of Grab workers. The analysis of our survey of GrabFood delivery drivers suggests that the gig economy provides flexible employment and decent income for workers across the country. It also suggests policy reforms that could improve the welfare of gig economy workers.